Thursday, 10 February 2011

What's going down in Egypt - Live report (Part 1)

I know that this blog is about literature, but literature is inspired by real life. There would be no books if nothing ever happened. Writers are inspired by what happens in their lives and in the lives of others. So I thought I'd do something original. In ten minutes President Mubarak will address the Egyptian people. It is said that he will step down, ending his thirty year rule. For the last two weeks there have been huge demonstrations and now it seems as if what they always wanted is about to happen.

So what I am doing is I am writing while I am watching and listening to the Live Stream from Al Jazeera English. It will be like a diary entry. Maybe I'll be so inspired by the event that I'll write something beautiful. Otherwise I and you will have a clear view of what happened. That's why I'm doing this in Courier. Courier gives everything this typewriter-esque style.

EDIT: This post has become HUGE!! But then again,what has happened has been important. I hope that if you read this you'll appreciate it.

Minister of Information says Mubarak might not be stepping down. He might have transferred his power to the vice-president. He can do that according to the constitution. He'd still be president but the Vice-president would be in control.

Tahrir Square is filled with people and tents. There are speeches being given, flags are being waved and slogans are being yelled. It is clear that the people expect to be rid of Mubarak. The tension is rising.

The speech is supposed to begin now, yet the State Television is still in the middle of the sports bulletin. This
speech is supposed to be live, yet it might have been pre-taped and played live. State TV can't always be trusted apparently. The Minister of Information would be the one to have seen the message if it was not live. I'm on the edge of my seat. I hope that Mubarak steps down. The Egyptian people have been hoping for this so much in the last days.

Instead of portraying the protesters as a couple of criminals without a lot of support as they have done over the last week now they are shown, on State Television, in their entire magnitude. The entire Egyptian population can see all the people on Tahrir Square, united by one wish. Democracy. Freedom.

State Television is now on their weather bulletin. The crowd is getting louder. I can hear drums beating. It is a huge gathering. I wish I was there. To be a part of such a crucial moment. Just like I wish I had been present at the Fall of the Berlin Wall.

The party spirit that can be felt while watching the Square might be premature. Yet according to the reporter this is the way that Egyptian anticipate these sort of events. I hope, I pray, that these people get what they want.

Instead of seeing the address by the President we now see a commercial for Egypt. It has been going on for two/three minutes now. That is pure propaganda.

'Quick, let's show everyone how beautiful our country is. Maybe they will be in a better mood and Mybarak is allowed to stay.'

The address was supposed to have started quite some time ago now.Apparently they're singing the national Anthem. It almost, almost, resembles the atmoshphere before a footbal match. The commercial promoting Egypt has now ended, but no Mubarak yet.

State Television is now showing pictures of the demostrations, which is quite something. They haven't ever shown the massiveness of this crowd. This is a significant change. Al Jazeera has always shown these pictures and is available for free in Egypt. State Television knew this yet kept on showing false images.

30 years under the same president. That is half a generation worth of time. There are so many people in the square now. State television is showing another news bulletin. Why would they be dragging this on? Everyone is waiting! The crowd has been told that TODAY all their demands will be met. Yet many people are afraid that (There are Tunesian flags being waved as well. It all started there!)it will turn into a military government.
There are still people entering the Square. Everyone wants to be there.

The address should have started 25 minutes ago. The State Television is simply showing the same images as Al Jazeera. Obama has been trying very hard to get onto the good side of history here.
I think governments should always support other governments as long as they represent the people.If the people rise aainst them they should be supported as long as they rise for a good reason.

And Egypt State Television still isn't showing Mubarak. But a business bulletin. I don't think anyone is waiting for that. I don't understand why they aren't showing the address. If it's live I'd expect that Mubarak had been on time. If this is their way of showing that this is live than it's not working. I wonder what will happen after tonight.

There are also protests in Alexandria, Egypt's second largest city. People are heading towards cofee shops which have televisions. There is a large screen on Tahrir Square, enabling them to see the address, if it ever comes, on the Square. Most people will not be happy if Mubarak simply refers power to Omar Soleiman. A slogan heard in the last couple of days has been:

'Get out Omar Suleiman, we don't want you either. '
State Television is showing a bulletin on state hospital. What is going on here? I hope that this isn't a big scam. Apparently it is highly likely that he will refer power, yet nothing else will change. Why?

If he doesn't step down it will push the people to have the 20 Million People Demonstration that they have beeb planning tomorrow. What I am now hearing are news-wire reports that:
  •  Mubarak will transfer his power to Omar Suleiman
  •  He himself will not stand aside
  •  He will change some parts of constitution apparently
  •  He will not seek re-elections
If that is all he has to offer than the crowd will not be happy.

No one knows why Mubarak is late. The Egyptians are actually joking about his lateness. The country has changed hugely over the last weeks. Egyptians say they have waited 30 years and don't mind waiting a couple of minutes for Mubarak to show up. More and more people are coming to the Square. I think everyone is expecting this night to be the birth of a new Egypt. Egyptian State Television. HERE WE GO!!

Mubarak is speaking. He says he speaks as a father to his children. He says he is proud of them. This is incredibly scripted. What does he want? He says he's going to implement all his promises. The people on Tahrir Square aren't happy.
He is speaing in a diplomatic language that only creates more problems.

He refuses to be dictated from the outisde e.g. USA. Nice. He is announcing that he will not be re-elected and ... . It doesn't seem like he's stepping down. The people in Tarhir Square are just staring at the screen. He isn't stepping down. He says he has laid down a plan to deal with this crisis and to respond to the youth's wishes. He says he wants support from the people but I don't think he will get 'broad consensus' from the people. 
When listening to him I cannot believe what I am hearing. Tahrir Square is getting loud. It seems as if he isn't aware of what has been happening. He just keeps on rambling about these 'unfortunate and tragic events'. "His" people want to get rid of him. He has made constituational reforms. These better be good. He proposed the ammendment of six articles of the constitution. I don't know what articles these are, but I'm sure they'll explain later.

I am actually almost crying. I had been hoping for Mubarak stepping down. And he is talking about different laws being removed. Emergency laws are to be scraped as far as I understand. He says there should be confidence and trust. These aren't hard times, these are people fighting for their freedom. This is not about the conomy. He actually says that this is not about him, but about Egypt. He says that the young reformists are the first that will be victim to these hard times and to the negative impact it has on the economy.

Tahrir Square is screaming. Thousand voices sound as one. I don't know what it says, but Tahrir Square is screaming. Mubarak is right, Egypt is going through chane, but he has no part in this change. Nick Kristoff's Tweets say exactly what I mean. Dictators seem to live in their own world, unaware of what is going on. Tahrir Square isn't even listening anymore. Egypt will live on, but without him.

And that was it. He's gone. He's said what he wanted to say. Tahrir Square is angry. They scream : 'HE MUST/SHALL LEAVE!' The scream: 'IRHAL' which means leave. As one they yell this. Nothing new has come from this speech. No history has been written yet.

'All the signs were that something historic was about to happen. Have we misread the sign?' Al Jazeera. The Armed Forces had said all demands would be met and not one demand has been met.  The protest tomorrow is going to be huge.

People on tahrir Square are crying. State Television has changed its town but now they aren't showing any images of what is going on right now. They aren't showing the anger. No one can understand how Mubarak cannot understand what's going on in the country he claims to love. In Alexandria people are going to a military base.
Happy cheering and singing has been turned into yelling profanities at Mubarak.

The Army hasn't taken up a position which has caused some people to loose hope. The Egyptians had had so many expectations. How are they going to respond, what  are they going to do?

I'm going to stop updating now. There will be enough news papers on this tomorrow. It hasn't turned into the euphoric piece of writing I would have wanted it to be. There have been some amazing Tweets. This is a favourite:

What a fantastic Twitter hashtag - #reasonsmubarakislate. My fave: Changing Facebook relationship status to "It's Complicated."

OK, I can't stop writing. Did the Egyptian government really think they could get away with this? Apparently people are on their way to the State TV building.

Suleiman is now speaking. He is the Vice-President who has been shouldered with the delegations of Egypt. He is looking forward tor estoring 'peace and justice (to his new empire? Sorry. Star Wars Quote) to Egypt'. He says they should go home and join hands in rebuilding Egypt. He's insulting Al Jazeera but he is obviously showing he has no connection to the people whatsoever.

Suleiman is clearly just as delusional as his boss. Tomorrow will be huge. There will be so many people on the streets. What Mubarak and Suleiman have done is infuriate te people. They have treated them like little children and I think Egypt is about to Explode!

What are your thoughts on what happened so far?

1 comment:

  1. Great post!

    I am following these ongoings too. It is exciting - and scary if you think of all these persons who were killed. I hope that the changes will bring good - and no fatalists/fanatics into power.